Friday, May 31, 2013


The dog is in the boarding kennels. This is a source of much ambivalence - she loves the excitement of meeting old friends (there are some long stays) but the wrench of separation is getting stronger each year. Still, she's safe and well cared for.

So, I gone from this - the late afternoon sun as I leave the kennels

to this -  the late afternoon sun in Barcelona, two days later.

We flew Emirates on the A380 for the first time and the whole service is very impressive. The flight scheduling is terrific, leaving Sydney at 2130 and arriving in Barcelona at 1330 the next day (23 hours elapsed real time) with one short efficient flight change in Dubai. It is essentially one long night of eating, sleeping, reading, movies and music in a fantastic aircraft. Well timed Melatonin and the odd sleeper help too. The music selection is second to none and the movie choices vast.

I've nearly finished Iris Origo's autobiography "Images and Shadows", a perfect aeroplane read - a thoughtful recollection and reflection on a life born into privilege in New York, Long Island, Ireland, England, and especially the Florence and Tuscany of the long gone expat years of the early 20th century. War and Fascism are nigh, and her War in Val D'Orca is with me, my next read. And then there's The Leopard in my bag too.

I watched two films. The much praised Quartet was the first, which was fortuitous for if it had been the second, I doubt I would have finished it. I'm sorry to say I found it, despite fine casting and some good performances, notably Michael Gambon's, overdrawn, predictable, contrived and pretty two dimensional. Tosca's Kiss it isn't.

What reservations I had, watching it, flying through the night (still eating) were magnified even more by the second - Amour.

This extraordinary film is deeply deeply moving. It doesn't need me, nor anyone, to precis it. But you do need to see it. And keep it with you then. It is, frankly, everything Quartet isn't, although there is no comparison. It's just that I saw them together and they both purport to be about love. Only one is. Don't let anyone tell you Amour is achingly sad. It isn't. It is achingly beautiful. And while I remember - another comparison I shouldn't be making is the sound tracks. For all the Verdi this Verdi anniversary that in Quartet, with all the usual suspects, Amour has the most wonderful soundtrack I can remember. I don't mean the Schubert, no, no, lovely that it is, of course. I mean the unnervingly powerful sound of turning life's pages, of dragging feet, of the breath, and of silence. The only thing I found incredible was that it was acted. It seemed and still does seem so absolutely real.

I had embedded a trailer. It doesn't need a trailer. I've deleted it and now found this David Stratton interview with the director Michale Haneke and the actor Jean-Louis Trintignant. Watch this, if anything, although that I only saw it after seeing the film wasn't a bad thing, for me.


David said...

I agree with everything you say about Amour, as you may remember, above all the hypersensitive response Haneke makes us have to every noise in the hermetically sealed world of the couple's flat. I suppose I ought to go and see Quartet, or get it out on DVD when the time comes, if only to see Gwyneth and John Tom (and some say Pauline Collins's big scene is worth seeing). But I'm not expecting much.

Anyway, bis Dresden...

wanderer said...

Mea culpa David. I may well have read you thoughts on Amour but nonetheless watched it consciously blind to any other input and ignorant of even its ending/beginning. Perhaps that was why I was so very moved as I hinted in my last sentence. Now I will search your comments, always important to me.

If Quartet comes your way, do give it the time if only for the performances you mention. It's not bad, just not great, in the scheme of things, and no fault of the players. Yes, Pauline Collins is quite wonderful, and of course one can't take one's eyes of the Dame, or couldn't ever anyway.

David said...

Apologies, wanderer, that wasn't in the least meant as a 'why didn't you reference me' sort of comment. Just affirming that I wasn't just going along with what you wrote for the sake of it. All the better if you hadn't seen it.

On the subject of subversive Austrians, I've very belatedly discovered Elfriede Jellinek. I didn't think I'd care for her subjects, but because of her extraordinary authorial voice, dissecting every move and motive, there's nothing quite like it.

Pauline Collins always surprises me. I'd loved Hannah Gordon, of all people, playing Shirley Valentine on stage; Collins was magnificent in the film. Tom Conti as a Greek, less said the better.

Susan Scheid said...

wanderer: I hope you are having a marvelous time in Europe. Just thought I'd pop by to let you know about a world premiere this August in, guess where, Sydney: (World Premiere, August 22-23, 2013, Adams conducting): John Adams is writing a saxophone concerto for Timothy McAllister, whom I heard play in Adams's City Noir recently. He is phenomenal.

wanderer said...

David, now that you have drawn my attention to Elfriede Jelinek then I will add her to my David-Says list, and ask where shall I start? The Piano Teacher?

Susan - August 23 it will be, if we can manage it, and as things stand now we should. And we'd better, I suspect, so I can report first hand. Adams's relationship with Sydney is likely to be well sustained, if not increased, with the coming of David Robertson as chief conductor here.

Susan Scheid said...

wanderer: So you too have a David-Says list. Ah yes, mine groweth by the hour! I'm really enjoying your travel reports and will of course love to hear a report on Adams's Sax Concerto. On Robertson, I recently learned the St. Louis Symphony will be recording the Sax Concerto and plans to release a disc of it and City Noir in 2014, I believe with Robertson conducting both. So yes, I agree, the relationship with Adams is likely to be at least well sustained with Robertson coming your way.